Yule Tidings Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association's Official Newsletter


JULY 2001 Volume 15, Number 2


CONVENTION IN HOUSTON: SEPTEMBER 28-30, 2001

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE- E.P. Worrell

Houston. President Denny Gunia and Region 2 President Bob Jones invite you to Houston in September for the 2001 TCTGA Convention at the Sheraton North Houston on JFK Boulevard just north of Beltway 8 between U.S. 59 and I-45.

Be looking for your registration packet in the mail soon.

WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE THE NEW CONTEST!!


YULE TIDINGS

3419 Nodding Pines
Spring, Texas 77380
(281) 367-5745

STAFF

EDITOR: Lanny Dreesen

YULE TIDINGS is published by the Texas Christmas Tree Growers Association and the Texas Agricultural Extension Service to help meet the needs of people growing and marketing Christmas trees in Texas.

YULE TIDINGS is published three times a year in February, June, and October. Deadlines for artwork, ads and articles are listed below, sooner is helpful.

EDITORIAL: Articles, announcements and artwork dealing with any aspect of Christmas tree production and marketing will be considered for publication. Preference is normally given to proven methods, processes, etc. applicable to Texas. Editor is not responsible for views expressed in signed articles. All communications with or concerning articles, photos, etc. should be sent to Lanny Dreesen, 3419 Nodding Pines, Spring, Texas 77380, (281) 367-5745.

The opinions expressed by the writers in by-lined articles are their own and not necessarily those of YULE TIDINGS or TCTGA.

The publishers of YULE TIDINGS assume no responsibility for accuracy and validity of claims in advertising or editorial reports.

ADVERTISING RATES:

Full Page: $120.00

2/3 Page: 102.00

1/2 Page: 80.40

1/4 Page: 48.00

AD DEADLINES:

February 12 for February issue

May 14 for June issue

October 10 for October issue

ANNUAL CONVENTION:

Last weekend in September

YULE TIDINGS

PUBLISHED BY THE TEXAS CHRISTMAS

TREE GROWERS ASSOCIATION


TCTGA OFFICERS

PRESIDENT: Dennis Gunia
13202 Lakecrest Drive
Cypress, Texas 77429
(281)469-2981

PRESIDENT ELECT: Jackie Merket
785 FM 1794W
Beckville, Texas 75631
(903) 678-2359

VICE PRESIDENT: Kenneth Radde
Route 2, Box 580
Meridian, Texas 76665
(254)435-6255

PAST PRESIDENT: Bill Walton
Box 62
Elgin, Texas 78621
(512)281-5016

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY- Jim Wilson
TREASURER: 222 North Riverside Dr.
Fort Worth, Texas 76111

(817) 831-0595

BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

Region 1
Mike Posey 2001 (214) 640-5609
Claudette McNew 2002 (214) 356-2195
Burl Hollingsworth 2003 (817)293-9000

Region 2
Bert Reaves 2001 (409)746-2522
Janie Scott 2002 (281)351-0818
Lanny Dreesen 2003 (281)367-5745

Region 3
Ann Aldridge 2001 (830) 914-2745
Edward Buscha 2002 (979) 249-5867
Duane Patrick 2003 (817)790-2400

NATIONAL DIRECTOR:

Beth Walterscheidt (512)281-4833


Hey!! Make plans to be at this year's convention in Houston, September 28-30 at the Airport Sheraton. Visit the TCTGA website http://texaschristmastrees.com/convention for more information and watch for your registration packet in the mail.


PRESIDENT'S COMMENTS

By Dennis Gunia

Do you remember when we had over four hundred paid members in the Texas Christmas tree growers Association? Well, times have changed. At last count, we have 151 members and down from 176 last year.

I am sure you are wondering why I am bringing this up. We all know this decline in membership has been going on for years as many of our "older" members finally retire and trade their Christmas tree fields in for green pastures. Well, fewer Christmas tree farms also mean fewer paid memberships, fewer convention attendees and fewer seedlings sold. These items pay for running the association, the web site, conventions/meetings and the various marketing programs.

Your board of directors had to face some very tough decisions at the May board meeting. Realistic anticipated revenues for the next fiscal year were compared to anticipated expenses for all programs and operations of the TCTGA. It became very obvious that we had a major shortfall in revenue. Raising membership fees was not an option. The board consensus was we had to make some major cuts in what we spend. Every program was discussed and debated in a very civilized manner with no sacred cows protected!

The final board decision was to remove the "Trees to Washington DC" as a budgeted items and reduce the amount we can spend on the executive secretary position yet to be filled.

We can all be affected by what happens in Austin and Washington, D.C. Therefore, we will attempt to continue the "Trees to Washington, D.C." program by auctioning off at the convention designated donated items. If sufficient funds are not generated, your representative and senator in Washington D.C. may not have a Texas Christmas tree in his office. Please donate items and aggressively bid for these items at the auction.

Will this balance the budget with no more cuts required in the future? Well, I am an optimistic, but also a realist. Inflation, the loss of TDA funding of the web site hosting in September 2002 and the possible eventual lower seedling sales with fewer farms will affect future budgets. I expect the continuing need for some very hard decisions to be made by this and future boards.

The TCTGA is your association. Please let your board members know what you believe is best for you and the organization. With fewer members and more limited resources, we do need volunteers in all areas. Just let the various committees know you are available. Volunteering is fun and a way to meet your fellow Christmas tree growers someplace other than a convention or a field day.

NATIONAL NEWS

President, himself, Jim Heater from Sublimity, Oregon. I just want to know how Sublimity and growing Christmas trees goes together, don't you?? See you at the Convention September 28-30.

TCTGA NEWS

Board of Directors Meeting-May,2001
by Jim Wilson
May 19, 2001
Board of Directors Meeting
Sheraton North in Houston, Texas

Present: Dennis and Marge Gunia, Jack and Janie Scott, Debbie and Jackie Merket, Ann Aldridge, Ed Buscha, Lanny Dreesen, Mike and Beth Walterscheidt, Bob Jones, Claudette and Dan McNew, Bert Reaves, Kenneth Radde, Mike and Betty Posey, Jim Wilson.

Invocation was given by Lanny Dreesen.

Dennis Gunia called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m.

The anti-trust statement was read by Jim Wilson.

Minutes: Mike Posey moved that the minutes be accepted as published without reading. Seconded by Ann Aldridge. Beth made a correction to the NCTA report: the education web site is realtrees4kids.org. Motion carried.

Financial report: Jim Wilson brought the report as prepared by the CPA. For the period July 1, 2000 through May 17, 2001, the report showed total income of $49,431.22 and expenses of $52,277.31 with a net income of -$2,846.09.

Kenneth Radde made the motion to accept the financial report. Motion died from lack of second.

The board instructed Jim to have the accountant remove the Jim Chandler Fund category.

Mike Posey made the motion to show a line item under Revenue or Income for Research Auction proceeds. Bert Reaves seconded. Motion carried.

Bert Reaves made the motion to accept the financial report. Mike Posey seconded. Motion carried.

Membership Report: Kenneth Radde reported that the committee wrote a letter to a list of growers/previous members. From the letter, the committee received six responses from members that are no longer growing trees, and three who joined. As of May 16, there are 147 members.

Seedling Committee Report: The Seedling Committee has committed to 200,000 seedlings for the 2002 planting season; 150,000 from IP and 50,000 for the Texas Forest Service. IP plans to plant more seed than they have in the past, so with a good germination rate, hopefully the quality will be up. The quality from TFS has been good the past couple of years. Order forms will be placed on the TCTGA web site. Additionally, order forms will be available via mail from Jerry Rogers, at the State Convention in Houston and possibly by a direct mail out to members. During the past season, notice on the web site of the availability of seedlings generated a lot of inquiries from across the nation, and outside the nation as well, and several sales. It is anticipated that with the order form on the web site that there should be no problem selling the entire allotment. It is suggested that TCTGA members get their orders in early to be assured of getting seedlings. We don't have the costs from the suppliers yet, so seedling and shipping prices have not been established. It is anticipated they will be about what they were last season: $45 per box/bag before a given date; $47.50 per box/bag to non-members and after a given date; $12.50 per unit shipping charges. Pick up at the nurseries is anticipated to be the second Friday and Saturday of January 2002. Progeny tests will be conducted to determine if the orchard needs to be further rogued. The seedling committee solicits input from the membership of TCTGA on how it might better serve the membership - committee members are Chuck Bozeman, Lanny Dreesen, Jackie Merket, Mike Posey and Jerry Rogers.


THERE WILL BE SURPRISE GUESTS AND ENTERTAINMENT AT THE CONVENTION THIS YEAR; DON"T FORGET YOUR CAMERA!!!


Convention Committee Report: This report was brought by Bob Jones. The theme of this year's convention is Agri-Tourism. Keynote speakers will be Mark and Carrie Schnepf of Schnepf Farms in Phoenix, Arizona. Special event: Messinahof Winery. Continuing education -3 hours by Drs. George Philley, Don Renchie and James Robinson. A draft budget and program was presented to the Board. The budget showed an estimated income of $14,100 with anticipated expenses of $13,680. This is based on a registration fee of $130. Some ideas for getting more exhibitors: private label foods, a Texas basket company, honey/bee people and John Foshee. The layout for the exhibits was amended to allow for the general session to be in the same room.

Newsletter Report: Lanny Dreesen proposed that the Yule Tidings be sent to members via email. The printer lost the ads so this issue will be missing them. The board discussed the importance of continuing the production of a printed and mailed newsletter, but increasing the mailing list to include the county extension agents.

Marketing Report: Kathy Enzerink's report was given by Janie Scott. The marketing committee will meet May 30 in College Station and a report will be sent to all board members via email after the meeting to keep everyone informed.

Marketing Brochure: (Janie Scott) Please refer to Marge Gunia's report and the comments about the effectiveness of the brochure. We are receiving more articles for the judging contest. Is it as a result of more enthusiasm from the members? The personal signing of the cover letter last year? Year after year of exposure to the media via this mailing technique? Is the actual award an incentive? I don't have the answer. An alternative to the current system could be postcard mailing to announce (and remind) the media of our website. They can glean all the details there. The current mailing list could be lessened dramatically. I would ask the members to select from a list of names which media should be included. Do we really get any mileage from the chamber offices? What about radio and TV? I am willing to put the marketing brochure together again this year and arrange for the printing. I will not, however, type all the input to establish the data for printing. This could result in a major expense for the association.

State Fair Booth: (Mike Posey) We could print 20-25K magnetic business cards (or smaller) with the TCTGA logo, plus our Christmas tree "man" with the website address. We could also produce a one-page coloring sheet with our "tree man" for the kids. It would also include the website and maybe the county names where farms are located. I think that the electronic resource is vital and maybe it is time we shift gears toward that end. My personal thoughts: I like having the marketing brochure. It has proved to be a useful tool in all levels of my marketing endeavors. Plus, we give it to customers who may be moving or know of friends and/or family in another area where there are farms. I refer to it year 'round. In closing, I feel that this will be an important board meeting to establish the direction we, as an association, will take in the future and am sorry to miss it. As always, I trust the good judgement of you all for the betterment of the association.

Media Award Report: Marge Gunia presented this report. Twenty-three articles were received.

Break at 10:45 a.m.

Call to order: 11 a.m.

Web Site Report: Denny Gunia presented the following report. Activity in the spring is usually non-existent. Work will start in mid-summer when farms realize the need to update the web site and planned improvements to the web site are started. The web site is planned to be expanded this year to include the following: (1) place Yule Tidings on line - depending on Lanny's schedule; (2) Media picture page - provide pictures of Christmas tree related activities for newspapers to download for their newspaper story by just e-mailing TCTGA and dependent upon getting some pictures from the membership; (3) TCTGA facts page - waiting for pertinent facts from Marketing Committee. No development costs are expected in doing the above items. I have arbitrarily placed a "free web site for TCTGA members" on temporary hold. It will again be considered when we can find a significant number of members who would like to learn html programming and assist in this effort. Like all on-going programs, this requires more manpower than is on the web committee to keep it going over the years. I will keep this on the back burner since it is a way to generate additional income for the TCTGA. No development funds or hosting funds required for the budget year 2001/2002. Contractual web development work is done and paid for. With regards to hosting, TCTGA placed matching funds in a TDA account in early 2000. With these funds and matching funds from TDA, the monthly hosting cost will be paid for until October 2002. However, TDA always has the option to back out of this matching program and return our funds. A major question unresolved is how to handle farms who are listed and who have not renewed. At last count, we may have over 15 farms that are on the web site but did not pay their 2001 dues. Obviously, they will be removed from the web site if payment is not received. However, this does require work and ideally should be done well before the Christmas tree selling season. The major concern is that we will be getting farms before the selling season to pay their dues and expect to be listed on the web site with very short notice. Suggest we consider the following to avoid this situation and reduce complaints: (1) Any farm not renewed by July 1 will be sent a letter by the web site committee/TCTGA President with a membership form advising them that their farm will be removed from the web site by August 1 if membership payment is not received by that date. The letter will also advise the farm that they must pay an extra charge (i.e. $20) if they pay the dues after August 1 but before November 1 to be placed back on the web site. After November 1, we still require the $20, will attempt to get their farm listed but cannot guarantee that their farm listing can be made. (2) New and future new members who have not been listed on the web site will still be accommodated with no deadline or additional charge.

NCTA Report: Beth Walterscheidt presented the following report.

--Environmental Action Fund Update: As of May 5, NCTA accepted a Foundation E.A.R.T.H. proposal and agreed to an initial grant of $23,300 to conduct an exposure test to determine whether families are exposed to lead, cadmium and/or organotins during the setup, display and takedown of artificial Christmas trees. The Foundation E.A.R.T.H. proposal includes a contract with the Environmental Quality Institute at the University of North Carolina, Asheville to conduct the study. Results will be available this summer. If you have not sent payment for your pledged amount, please remit to NCTA, P. O. Box 952247, St. Louis, MO 63195-2247. Meanwhile, we have determined that the U.S. imported about 12 million artificial trees in 2000.88% from Communist China.

--Youth and Schools Committee of the NCTA exhibited at the National Science Teachers Convention. Thirteen thousand science educators were in attendance and everything in the book was distributed. The purpose was to promote the Real Trees 2 Kids curriculum (www.realtrees4kids.org). Educators were informed of the curriculum and then given a list of state contacts to find a Christmas tree farm near them to take students on a field trip to reinforce what was taught. Each national director will receive training on the program and suggestions for using it on farms during the board meeting in August. They, in turn, will give the information out at state meetings.

--Membership applications are available for anyone who wants to be a part of NCTA. Remember, this year only members will get a listing on National's web site because of the cost factor. In the past, all TIP members were eligible.

Regional Reports



Region 1: Jackie Merket reported that they had a good turnout at James Robinson's farm for the Field Day.

Region 2: Bob Jones reported that they had a great field day at Bert Reaves farm. There were 40 in attendance - two new members included.

Region 3: Mike Walterscheidt presented the following report. Region III held its Spring Field Day April 7 at Mainstay Farm hosted by Jim and Marianna Wilson. A short business meeting was held where a committee was appointed to locate a site for the 2003 State Convention (committee members: Marianna Wilson and Beth Walterscheidt). A presentation on techniques for growing Christmas trees was made by Jim Robinson of Cross Timbers Farm followed by a presentation by Marianna Wilson on activities on the farm beyond selling Christmas trees. During lunch, a short presentation was made by Submatic Irrigation on the latest innovations in irrigation techniques. After lunch, Jim and Marianna hosted a tour of their farm including the mazes and the new dairy they purchased which will be turned into an entertainment complex. Attendance at the field day was nearly 50.


This convention promises more, more and still more for you! More contests, more ideas for your farm, more entertainment - well, you're getting the picture. Be sure and watch for your registration packet in the mail.




Road Signage Report: The trailblazing issue was discussed. Bob Jones has drafted a letter to begin the process of changing the rules.

State Fair Committee: Mike and Betty Posey presented the following report. We have received a phone call from TDA's state fair coordinator, Jo Moss. She asked if we were planning to exhibit again this year. She said that she wanted to insure that we would have the space that we wanted reserved before the "political folks" got too far along. We told her that TCTGA would expect to have a 10 x 10 booth, the same as last year. We have had a very good working relationship with Jo and the TDA at the State Fair and they have been most helpful and cooperative.



Executive Secretary Search Committee: Jackie Merket reported that after this board meeting, the committee will collect proposals, applications and then will forward these to the executive committee comprised of Dennis Gunia, Jackie Merket, Bill Walton and Kenneth Radde.

Research Committee report: No requests for funds have been received.

Old business: There was none.

New business: There was none.

Proposed Budget for fiscal year 2001/2002: Beth Walterscheidt made the motion to remove from the budget the line item "trees for legislators" and ask our exhibitors to donate items for the auction designated for this project. Kenneth Radde seconded. Motion carried.

Ann Aldridge made the motion to cut the line item for Executive Secretary and accounting by a total of $1,200 a year combined. Ed Buscha seconded. Beth made the motion to amend the motion to include CPA fee. Lanny Dreesen seconded. Motion carried. Original motion carried.



Mike Posey made the motion to cut the State Fair expense by $100. Claudette McNew seconded. Motion carried.

Lanny made the motion to set the duties of the Executive Secretary by committee. Jackie Merket seconded. Motion carried.

Jackie made the motion to adjourn. Ed Buscha seconded. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.

WANTED: NEW EXECUTIVE SECRETARY/TREASURER

TCTGA's long-time Executive Secretary/Treasurer, Jim Wilson, announced to the Board of Directors at the February 3 meeting in College Station that his company will no longer be handling the Association=s account after this fiscal year.

Wilson and Company have been a significant force in moving the TCTGA to effectiveness levels it had not experienced prior to Jim's taking over the position. As he told the board, he will continue to be a viable part of our association as a member. Thank you, Jim.

President Dennis Gunia immediately appointed a committee chaired by President-Elect Jackie Merket, to start the search process to find the next Executive Secretary. Below, is a preliminary list of duties. Members are invited to notify the Search Committee members: Jackie, Janie Scott, Mike Posey or Ed Buscha of possible candidates.

Duties of TCTGA Executive Secretary/Treasurer.

Set the board meeting agenda

Take minutes of board meetings and the annual meetings

Provide the necessary financial reports

Process and pay all invoices

Coordinate the annual convention by contracting with the selected facilities and services.

Salary for the part-time position is negotiable.

Work with committee chairs as needed

The Executive Secretary/Treasurer will be reviewed annually.

Further clarification on filling the position will be published following the May Board meeting .

MANAGEMENT

Earn CEU credits at the Friday afternoon seminars at the convention.

Tear out and complete the 2001-2002 Virginia pine seedling order form in the back of this newsletter. Note the deadlines and changes from last year.

RESEARCH

GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE, SOLD!! Get ready for the annual TCTGA auction. Donate items or just come and bid, for those treasures you just can't live without. It all goes to good causes that benefit you and the association. It is Friday evening, September 28. See you there.

MARKETING

By now you should have sent in your Marketing Directory form. They were mailed in May.

If you haven't received it, or turned it in, please download a copy off the TCTGA website under TCTGA Information, then Marketing Brochure Form and get it in quickly.

See you at the Convention.

RIDDLE: Where in Texas can you get in the spirit of Christmas in September?
ANSWER: At the Annual Convention in Houston, of course! Don't miss Pete's pictorial farm tours, the Tree Judging Contest, as well as, lots of vendors to shop for your farm supplies. Make plans to attend.

MISCELLANEOUS

MEMBER WANT ADS

Texas Real Trees has the following items for sale:



1990 Duetz-Allis tractor, 27hp, 4WD, PS

New Horizon shaker

Baler, 23" with stand

Baler, 20" with stand

Royal cash register

Colorant, Kirk SuperPineGreen, 10 gal.

Sprayer, 55gal. fiberglass tank with rebuilt PTO pump

Green Garde spray gun

Fuel tank, 55gal drum with hand pump

Tree Stands, assorted sizes: Cinco and "cheapo"

Tree bags

Beneke trimmer, 5 foot, gas

Brush saw, Echo, large, gas

Hand saws, 25 ea.



For information on cost and transportation call Lanny Dreesen at 281-367-5745.



__________________________





Make definite plans for the farm tour on Sunday at the convention. The Prause's Old Time Christmas Tree Farm is a place like you haven't seen before. (Unless, of course, you have been there.)









VIRGINIA PINE SEEDLING ORDER FORM

2001 - 2002 PLANTING SEASON

This order form contains important information both on the front and on the back.

NAME:________________________________________________________________

FARM NAME:___________________________________________________________

ADDRESS:______________________________________________________________

UPS ADDRESS:__________________________________________________________

CITY/STATE/ZIP:_________________________________________________________

DAY PHONE:___________________________EVENING PHONE:_________________

BOXES OF SEEDLING ORDERED:__________EMAIL ADDRESS:_________________

Each box contains approximately 500 seedling. Some boxes contain more than 500 and some boxes contain less than 500. Minimum order is one (1) box. Because of TCTGA's commitment to the nurseries, payments must be included with orders.



TCTGA MEMBERS:

SEEDLING PAYMENT @ $45.00 per box (before October 3, 2001). $_____________

@ $47.00 per box (after October 2, 2001) $_____________

NON-TCTGA MEMBERS:

SEEDLING PAYMENT @ $47.00 per box $_____________

STATE SALES TAX: Sales tax at the rate of 6.25% must be included with all

orders IF tax ID number or signed Certification of Agricultural Exemption (provided

on the back of this order form) are not included with order. $_____________

UPS SHIPPING CHARGES/INFORMATION:

Please check seedling source for orders shipped: ___Int'l Paper ___Indian Mound

Shipping charges @ $15.00 per box (_____boxes X $15.00 per box) $_____________

International Paper will ship on only one date: January 28, 2002.

Indian Mound will ship on only one date: January 14, 2002.

TOTAL AMOUNT ENCLOSED $_____________

Please check pick-up date and location (DOES NOT APPLY TO ORDERS TO BE SHIPPED).

_____Friday, Jan. 11, 2002, 9:30 AM-1:30 PM at Texas Forest Service Indian Mound near Alto.

_____Saturday, Jan. 12, 2002, 9:30 AM-1:30 PM at International Paper near Lake Palestine.

Make checks payable to TCTGA and return to: Jerry Rogers

906 Humphrey Street Athens, TX 75751

903-675-3909

SEE REVERSE SIDE FOR CONTINUATION OF ORDER FORM

AND IMPORTANT ORDERING INFORMATION







If you do not have a tax ID number and are planting these seedlings for Christmas Trees, please complete and sign the following Certification of Agricultural Exemption.



TEXAS SALES TAX EXEMPTION CERTIFICATE:

I, the purchaser named on the front of this form, claim an exemption from payment of sales taxes for the purchase of Virginia Pine Seedlings. These seedlings are to be used for agricultural purposes on a Christmas Tree Farm.

I understand that I will be liable for payment of Sales Tax which may become due for failure to comply with the provisions of the State, City and/or Metropolitan Transit Authority Sales and Use Tax Laws and Comptroller rules regarding exempt purchases. Liability for the tax will be determined by the price paid for the taxable items purchased or the fair market rental value for the period of time used.

I understand that it is a misdemeanor to give an Exemption Certificate to the seller for taxable items which I know, at the time of purchase, will be used in a manner other than that expressed in this certificate and that upon conviction may be fined not more than $500 per offense.



SIGN

HERE __________________________ _________________________ ______________

Purchaser ________________________ Title ____________ Date: ____________



IF YOU HAVE A TAX ID NUMBER, PLEASE PROVIDE IT HERE:__________________

*******************************************************************

IMPORTANT ORDERING INFORMATION:

International Paper has committed 150,000 Texas Seed Source Virginia Pine seedling to TCTGA for sale to its membership and other tree growers. This commitment is until November 1, 2001. On November 1, 2001, all seedling not sold will be released back to International Paper. Therefore, it is vital that you get your order in early if you want Texas Seed Source seedling from International Paper. Orders may be made after November 1, 2001, BUT THEY WILL BE FILLED ONLY IF SEEDLINGS ARE AVAILABLE.



Texas Forest Service Indian Mound Nursery has committed approximately 50,000 Texas Seed Source Virginia Pine seedling to TCTGA for sale. Orders for TFS Indian Mound seedling will be filled as received, and when all are sold, there will be no more from this source.



_________________________________________ _________

Signature of person completing this form Date



DEADLINE FOR GUARANTEED ORDERS

IS NOVEMBER 1, 2001.



Orders accepted after November 1, 2001, only if seedling are available.


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